Friday, April 22, 2016

Scapulothoracic Stability and Glenohumeral Mobility

Microcycle Two in my personal journey to re-establish foundational stability and mobility is focused on stabilizing the scapula and thoracic spine, enhancing mobility in the glenohumeral (shoulder) joint, building better knee stability, and increasing ankle mobility. This is in line with the progressions taught in the ACE Personal Trainer manual to use with complete beginners to fitness. I'm experimenting with these workouts to see how challenging they seem, how easy they are to show up for, and to ensure that I've got my foundation strong and balanced.

One of my favorite benefits of regular physical activity is that it brings a heightened awareness about my body and the way it moves, my mental disposition towards fitness, and my strengths and weaknesses in all areas of my life. It increases mindfulness, which is a goal I'm always working towards. I've practiced mindfulness training for six years now, but it's still so easy to not think about it for a few days and then suddenly end up with a shoulder injury because I was thinking about fireflies while doing barbell overhead presses. Or suddenly snap at my husband for bringing home girl scout cookies, when I could easily just NOT EAT THEM and am actually just snapping because my hormones are so, so, so annoying right now.

Working through the first microcyle at the beginning of this month, I struggled with guilt for "not doing enough." Jesus freaking christ. I'm doing enough. I actually wrote a workout plan and am testing it out to possibly use with future clients. I woke up at 3:30am nine times during those two weeks to complete a strength workout or just to get some yoga and meditation time. Bird dogs, dead bugs, bridges, and planks are really great exercises for strengthening my core. Still, guilt. So lame. I tried to be mindful of it, give the feeling attention, but not validate the feeling. Because it's invalid. I am enough.

This week, however, I strayed from my well-designed, minimalist program to try a sandbell class after work on Tuesday. I had already done my strength workout before work and had a pretty strenUous day in the warehouse, but I'm itching to do more group fitness classes for the camaraderie. Part of it was the guilt reminding me that only six months ago I was deadlifting and squatting, so why shouldn't I be able to throw around a 6lb sandbell even though I'd already done a strength workout that day?

I am so, so, SO FREAKING SORE! I definitely overdid it. Soreness is to be expected with a new modality, but this almost has me unable to walk. My DOMS is always the worst on day 2 following the workout, and this time it has worsened into day 3. I'm foam rolling, doing some dynamic stretching, and taking it easy, but whoo-whee! I've learned that a) when my plan is to take it easy for four weeks, take it easy and b) I enjoy group exercise fitness, but I need to learn to work at my own pace and ability rather than try to keep up with the rest of the class. Alternate some reps when I need to. Stop trying to be every god damned thing in every god damned area of my life.

The soreness led me to skip my second strength workout in this microcyle, and honestly, I plan on doing it after work today, but I know myself. Myself wants to stop at the bar and get a cold beer on her way home from work today, because myself has has another pretty rough week at work. Myself will only be adding onto the Pile O' Guilt, but that's going to be okay.

Anyways, here are the exercises from my Microcycle Two. The focus is on endurance for these joints and smaller muscles, so I'm completing each high-rep set with less than thirty seconds rest between them. I'm doing this three times a week on alternating days.

2x20 - Band shoulder stacking (holding onto the ends of an anchored resistance band while stacking my shoulders back and down, really focusing on the isolation)
2x20 - Incline pushups off my kitchen table
3x15 - Band internal shoulder rotations
3x15 - Band external shoulder rotations
2x20 - Thoracic openers from quadruped position
3x15 - Chair squat
2x20 - Ankles rock back and forth
2x20 - Bird dogs
3x15 - Dead bugs
3x45seconds - Planks

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

2016 Update

I don't have any excuses available for why I haven't blogged in over a year. So I won't provide any. Jump to the update!

I earned my ACE Personal Trainer certification last month, which provided the CECs (continuing education credits) to renew my Group Fitness Instructor certification. Both are good through spring 2018! This is so exciting to me! I might not even use the certifications to earn money or provide services, but I will definitely use the information in my own fitness and health programming. I think it's a good thing to push myself to continue to learn new things, especially new things with tests that I can take to prove to myself that I'm comprehending the information. And prove to myself that I'm not worthless, stupid, or pointlessly taking up space on this planet.

Major fitness goals this year are to quit smoking (Jesus freaking Christ, smoking is against everything I have become) and to do a pull-up. I also included in my macrocycle goals that I'd like to be able to bust out ten real push-ups on the floor. I've done several weight training programs, but push-ups remain my nemesis. Currently I can do three or four before I use an incline to crank out the rest (I read in New Rules of Lifting that this is more effective in training for pushing movements than doing push-ups on my knees.).

Married life is still fantastic. We're both still balancing our demanding jobs and commutes with precious hours of time together in the evenings and on weekends. I wish we could travel more this year, but we're still blessed. We have a camping trip to Asheville, NC planned in May and will be flying to Denver to visit my sister-in-law at the end of the summer. I've never been to either city before, and both are well-known for having amazing beer, so I'm pretty stoked on our destinations for 2018. I'm just pouty because I want to plan a cruise. Which is ridiculous, because I couldn't see straight while driving for a week after my cruise last fall, and I'm always just pushing away the thoughts about how lame crew life must be and all the waste being dumped at sea. 

There are still a lot of areas in life where my actions are not matching up with my values and intentions. But that's okay, because I see the same thing in every single person I know. We're all doing the best we can in each moment.